I have a lot of things to be thankful for: I have a healthy and relatively predictable baby, my husband and I don’t hate each other after having our baby, I have a husband who is as involved as possible with child rearing, I don’t have intense mommy resentment of Daddy for not having to produce milk (not yet, anyway), and I had a relatively swift recovery given my unmedicated birth. But one thing that definitely is frustrating to a degree that I may not have the right to be frustrated about given our very fortunate situation is that every day is pretty much the same: I wake up, I pump milk, I nurse my baby, I wash bottles, I clean the house, I cook a little food, and then repeat. Our baby is on a three-hour eating schedule, so every three hours the process always repeats. During the daytime, I nurse her at every session, then I hand her off to Chris to do her bottle feed. Then approximately an hour and 45 minutes after I nurse her, I pump. This is on repeat pretty much every three hours.
At night, though, at least after sleeping my first 2 1/2 hour block, I pump every four hours for my sanity. If I were a hard-core exclusive pumper, I would pump every 2 to 3 hours regardless of daytime or night time, but I know that if I were to attempt that, I would not only be a zombie, but I would be resentful of my husband for not having to lactate and pump milk, and that would not be fair. And so, I did not even think about pursuing that route. And if you can believe it or not, I actually feel well rested after my second block of night sleep, which is usually around 3 1/2 to 4 hours long. I guess what they say is true: you really do adjust to having far less sleep after having a child.
I want to see the light at the end of the tunnel, though. I want to be able to see a day when my milk production has increased, my hormones have stabilized so that my milk production has also stabilized, which then means that I can pump less and enjoy my baby more. Because right now, even with the help of Chris here 24/7 since he has not still not gone back to work, I still feel like my entire life revolves around pumping as opposed to my own baby. I want to be able to enjoy my time with her, to be able to cuddle with her and not have to worry about a ticking clock reminding me that I need to fucking pump. I feel like I spend more time pumping than directly with my own child, which sounds absolutely ridiculous to me. But I keep reminding myself that this is temporary, that this is a short term investment for a long-term gain… Not just for my child’s health and immunity, but also for my milk supply to help her health and immunity. I have completely put the pressure on myself. No one else has pressured me to produce milk or to continue this pumping journey. The doctor has not done this, Chris has not done this at all, and I know that at any time if I were to say that I wanted to switch the baby completely to formula, Chris would likely be supportive. But I don’t know if this ends up being my only child, and so because of that, I want to make sure I am giving her everything I am possibly able to in order to ensure her health and happiness. And for me at this point, it starts with as much breastmilk as possible. This is like my obsession now… and my way to prove to myself that I am not failing at my motherhood goals.